Post-Protest Peru: Try Not to Get Choked Up with the New President

Third time’s a charm, they say. And we may have actually found a winner with the third Peruvian president within a week – Francisco Sagasti Hochhauser.

You may have seen the tear gas-ladened protests in the last week that culminated in the deaths of two young protestors. The protests nationwide were in response to Congress impeaching the president, Martín Vizcarra, and voting in their own choice for president, Manuel Merino, who then stepped down over the weekend. How could he not with thousands of people across the country wielding “Get Out Merino” and “Merino Isn’t My President” signs.

Voted in to take Merino’s place is Sagasti who began his inauguration speech this afternoon apologizing to the parents of the deceased youth. His speech seemed to successfully acknowledge the country’s challenges and provide hopefulness for potential ways forward to overcome not only the havoc the pandemic has wrought on the country but also the heavy mistrust of the government.

At the end of his speech, he quotes a poem from a famous Peruvian poet, Cesar Vallejo.

“Examinando, en fin,
sus encontradas piezas, su retrete,
su desesperación, al terminar su día atroz, borrándolo…

Comprendiendo
que él sabe que le quiero,
que le odio con afecto y me es, en suma, indiferente…

Considerando sus documentos generales
y mirando con lentes aquel certificado
que prueba que nació muy pequeñito…

Le hago una seña,
viene,
y le doy un abrazo…
Emocionado…Emocionado…”

“Examining, finally
his found parts, his toilet,
his desperation upon finishing his terrible day, erasing it….

Understanding
that he knows I love him,
that I hate him with affection and in short, don’t care about him…

Considering his general documents
and scrutinizing with glasses that certificate
that proves he was born very small…

I signal to him.
He comes
and I embrace him…
Moved…Moved…”

They were words of hope for reconciliation and maybe even forgiveness, despite so much pain, resentment, differences, and disagreements.

Reciting the final words of the poem, Sagasti gets choked up.

And I did too as I realized that I could use the same reminder not only in the world of politics but also in my every interaction with another human being.

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Comments (8)

  • I was wondering how you were doing so I’m glad to see this blog. I saw images of tear gassing and protestors and knew one government had been changed I didn’t know there were three but President Sagasti seems as if he might be a good choice. It seems peace and forgiveness are things we could all use right now.

  • Always. Funny, I saw my doctor in person for the first time in a year. A year ago I think he and his wife went to Peru for a week or two, can’t remember. But Peru seemed stable and a good place to vacation. I suspect Covid is changing things everywhere but it’s sad to see.

  • Crazy how this is similar to what the US is going through now. Lots of instability around the world…. Invitation to come back to Canada is still open.😉.

    Hope you are keeping safe Sam! Keep on writing!

    • I didn’t think of it that way! Here I am all about wanting to see parallels and connections where people normally don’t see them, then not recognizing the similarity to the US after being so engrossed in the US elections. 😛 I did, however, just hear today that Chile is going through similar protests against their president.

      Wishing you and your fam the same, Derrick! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement. I seem to often forget that I actually enjoy writing just to write. The little pushes in the right/write direction make all the difference.

  • Hi Sam

    I hope this finds you doing well. News has not been good about Peru. Covid seems to be hitting new records. Up here my son and I have both had the first shot. Another four months and we should have both. I’m assuming it really is just a minor bug he has because he said tonight he’s not feeling well. Still he’s healthy, young and he’s had his first shot. I’m sure he will be fine.

    I don’t know if you still have or have had stricter rules put in place but Wherever you are I hope you and yours are safe. At some point this virus has to end. And then there will be much rebuilding to do. Until then I will keep hoping we all make it through, healthy.

  • Hope you had a beautiful Mother’s Day yesterday, Pat! Hopefully, it truly means the end’s in sight with these vaccinations. So far, no set vaccination plan here in Peru, but I’m hoping to visit Vancouver soon. Maybe I can get vaccinated there. Wishing you and your family health and optimism! 🙂

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